SONCAP regulations for exporting to Nigeria

On the 1st March 2013 a new (and rather stringent) set of regulations came into force for anyone wishing to ship goods into Nigeria.  There are certain goods which may not fall under this regulation, but it is the responsibility of the Nigerian importer to find out if this is the case at the time they apply for a Form M.

However, if the goods do fall under this regulatory requirement, then please note that the costs are quite high and should be calculated at the time of the contract negotiations so that no unpleasant surprises occur at the time of shipment.

The background to this new system is that it is the Nigerian Government’s response to the growing and sometimes dangerous activities of counterfeiters and other fraudulent activities to export sub-standard products to Nigeria.  This has always been a problem, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, but has spread to both IT and telecommunications as well.  So much so, that a lot of my Nigerian contacts are constantly asking me to supply them with computers, because they have had serious problems with counterfeit and sub-standard units supplied to them through the Nigerian marketplace.

Basically the SONCAP is a two stage process.

First, traders are required to apply for a Product Report/Registration/Licence Certificate.  For this application a test report from an ISO 17025 accredited lab and a photograph of each product in jpeg format, no larger than 10mb, must be supplied.  The test report must conform to the appropriate product Compliance Verification Guideline (CVG).  The CVG outlines the Nigerian and/or International standard(s) to which the product is to be tested.

Generally speaking, declarations of conformity or EMC test reports are not acceptable.

Once the correct test report has been supplied the trader will be issued with a Product Report/Registration/Licence Certificate.  The cost of this Certificate is US$300 for the report and registration but $1300 for an annual licence and needs to be paid for by the exporter.  These prices have been set by the Nigerian Government and are valid as of November 2013, but is subject to change.  The documents can be obtained from an agency such as SGS or Intertek.  If there is more than one model/type to be included on the Product Certificate then the costs for these additional products will be calculated upon receipt of your completed request form.  A Report is only valid for one shipment within a 6 month period but a Registration or Licence issued to a manufacturer is valid for one year and covers all the shipments of the products registered within that year.

Once a Report/Registration or Licence has been issued then the Registration number (which will be issued by whichever agency used) needs to be sent to the Nigerian importer since they will require this information in order to obtain the Form M and other necessary licences.Once the goods are ready for shipment then (or beforehand to avoid delays) the trader must apply for a Certificate of Conformity (CofC). The CofC is required for every consignment exported to Nigeria if the goods shipped so require.  The cost of the CofC is US$300 per consignment.  Most CofC applicationswill require a PSI to be completed and should be accompanied by a copy of a commercial invoice and packing list. Please note that these documents come as a set.  For example, it is not possible to obtain a Certificate of Conformity without first having purchased a Product Certificate.

More information on this procedure can be obtained from the SGS or Intertek websites.

Maria Narancic from Point to Point Export Services is an independent international trade adviser who assists organisations world wide with their international trade projects, documentation, Documentary Credits and import/export training.  She is based in the United Kingdom.  If you require any further assistance with the subject matter detailed above, please do contact us by e-mail on or check out other International Trade articles on the Point to Point Export Services website at



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